Something released while skydiving – The New York Times

SATURDAY PUZZLE – This grid has a perfect row of bookends and starts and ends with a very tongue-in-cheek row of clues from the youngest college graduate Sophia Maymudes making her Saturday and solo debut without a theme. (In fact, this is Ms. Maymudes’ first Solo Times puzzle since her memorably hilarious first attempt, which was a themed Thursday.)

There’s a new puzzle word or two around every corner and a generally youthful vibe, but in the There’s Nothing New Under the Sun section, most of it isn’t overly trendy or insider. (I don’t know how my snowball throwing nuns would fare, but I stumbled upon this relic and couldn’t miss it. You’d probably love these bookends!)

There is also some scientific evidence in abundance today, including a Kafka reference (even Gregor SAMSA is being saved in the digital age), a Samuel Taylor Coleridge reference, NATO alphabet trivia, and an ANGELA Davis quote with determination. I thought of a “bridge” that would provide “passage” rather than the game, a pastime; I also thought of “pubs” in another literary entry instead of INNS. And the hint for ADRENALIN was correspondingly stimulating.

15A: That is modern slang, but not all modern – RIDE OR DIE appears in hip-hop music of the 1990s, inspired by motorcycle culture and ultimately the bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde of the 1930s. In all cases it is praise for the most loyal companions (but often to the point of self-destruction).

44A: This entry was filling up with crosses pretty slowly for me (I can imagine it helps if you somehow think of I WANNA LOOK first, but I don’t know who would). But I’m really mentioning ONE ARM because of another crossbreed that I found shudderingly biting, like some creepy pics in a horror movie where the R meets RIPSAW. Anyone else?

67A: Speaking of horror films! Joking, kind of – the movie referred to here is supposedly a comedy, one that seems newer and somehow older than its 17 years of age. It’s in a high school and I can imagine teenagers (and others) still seeing it and going on until the earth shakes off its axis: MEAN GIRLS. Although Tina Fey based her script on a modern self-help book, she also borrowed from her own childhood and even mastery of the art of snappy false compliments, the kind of controlling behavior that transcends time and gender, even from her mother.

13D: The hint seems simple, but I always thought the phrase it was referring to, the debut in this corner, was sarcastic. SEEMS LEGIT works as an answer to a lame excuse or a hustler’s sales tactic.

26D: I’ve never been to a MARIO PARTY, but when I found LUIGI at 40A, I felt less like a wallflower. I’ve never fallen for the whole LASER TAG list either. Walking around in the dark and dodging infrared light rays? Um, no thanks – Sounds LEGIT, but I’ll just meet you for pizza afterwards.

I wrote this puzzle pretty much a year ago, in the week of my virtual college graduation due to Covid. In response to the many difficult emotions I had to deal with, I focused on filling this puzzle with as many things as possible that gave me pleasure. I hope you all find some of the same joy in solving the puzzle today (especially those who know how appropriate it is for me to debut 13-down!).

In celebration of June 10th, I will donate my payment from today’s puzzle to two black-run nonprofits: Byrd Barr Place (in my hometown of Seattle) and the Trans Justice Funding Project.

The New York Times Crossword has an open submission system and you can submit your puzzles online.

For tips to get you started, see our How to Do a Crossword Puzzle series.

Subscribers can take a look at the response key.

Are you trying to get back to the puzzle page? Exactly here.

What did you think?

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